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BC Liberals Again Increasing MSP Premiums On January 1st As Critics Call It A Cash Grab

“It went up on January 1, 2015 to $144 a month, now it’s going to $150 a month on January 1, 2016. That’s a big bill. That’s one of the biggest bills that come in every month and it comes in separately from your overall taxes,” said Jordan Bateman with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

VANCOUVER  – Don’t look now, but there is another hand reaching into your pocket.

As of January 1st, Medical Service Plan premiums will go up by another 4.2 per cent, from $864 to $900 a year.

One watchdog group thinks it’s nothing more than a government cash-grab.

It’s basically a tax in all but name only, according to the Jordan Bateman with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

“An insurance premium would take into account risk for example,” he points out.

“So, you know, someone who exercises more, was relatively young, would pay less than someone who is older, or didn’t get out much or someone who had chronic healthcare issues. So, it’s not really linked to your healthcare in that way.”

Bateman adds premiums have been hiked by nearly 40 per cent since 2010.

“It went up on January 1, 2015 to $144 a month, now it’s going to $150 a month on January 1, 2016. That’s a big bill. That’s one of the biggest bills that come in every month and it comes in separately from your overall taxes.”

While he isn’t calling for the province to stop collecting the premiums, he would like to see it replaced with something more equitable.

“If you tied it to income, instead of having the same amount paid by someone making 30 grand or $3 million, we think there might be a way to save the majority of people money.”

A bipartisan legislative committee asked to make recommendations for the 2016-17 B.C. Budget has recommended a review of Medical Services Plan premiums, including “threshold levels, comparisons to other jurisdictions, costs of administering the program, and alternatives.”

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